Friday, June 3, 2011

Monte Cristo Appetizer

I'm a woman who has many fears.

Airplanes? Terrifying. Any movie featuring a psycho killer? Gives me heart palpitations. Those squiggly bugs with a hundred million legs? Oh, sweet mercy, help me. Making appetizers? I just started sweating when I typed those words.

I may have mentioned my appetizer-induced panic attacks before. I don't know what scares me about them. Fun, bite-sized nibbles that taste delicious—they sound so tame! Maybe it's the mental pictures of caviar-topped blinis served by tuxedo-clad hunks that intimidates me. I don't do caviar-topped anything. Not until I get my first Rolls Royce, anyway. (What's that I hear? My bank account chuckling?)

Anyway, I've challenged myself to conquer my fear of appetizers. When the latest girls night rolled around, I mustered up all the courage in my spineless soul and volunteered to bring a savory snack. "I can DO this!" I told myself.  And you know what? I did.

Monte Cristo Appetizers
Adapted from: An Occasion to Gather

2 sheets all-butter puff pastry, thawed
Dijon mustard, to taste
8 very thin slices of ham
8 very thin slices of turkey
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 egg, beaten
Seedless raspberry jam, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place one sheet puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard over the puff pastry, leaving a 1/2" border uncovered on all sides. Arrange ham and then turkey on top of the mustard, making sure to leave the 1/2" border of puff pastry uncovered. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of meat. (Don't forget to leave that border clear!) Place second sheet of puff pastry on top of the cheese. Gently press the tines of a fork around the edges of the puff pastry in order to form a sealed packet. Score the top sheet of pastry with a  butter knife, creating as many squares as you'd like. Be careful not to cut through the dough.

Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Let stand until slightly cooled (so all the cheese doesn't ooze out.) Follow your scored marks to cut into squares. Serve at room temperature, or slightly reheated, with the raspberry jam.

**Monte Cristo Appetizers also make a great lunch or light supper. You won't settle for plain, old ham-and-cheese-on-wheat after you've tried them.

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